Super nova award 2011 preferred


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Super nova award 2011 preferred

  1. 1. Constellation Connected Enterprise 2011SuperNova Award WinnerCategory: Emerging TechnologyMost award program s recognize the technology suppliers for their advancements in themarket. Few, if any, program s have recognized individuals for their courage in battling the oddsto effect change in their organization. The Con stellation SuperNova Awards celebrate theexplorers, the pioneers, and the un sung heroes who succes sfully put new technologies towork. More importantly, these leaders have created positive, disruptive change in their markets.Mike OʼNeill, CEO, Preferred SandsPreferred Sands is creating a new way to compete in a very old industry, and it needsgreat people in order to succeed. Preferred’s business model works, but we were havinga lot of trouble building the team that would enable us to expand. There is not a verylarge pool of knowledgeable people in this industry, and some who know the businessdon’t fit the way Preferred does business. Also, although we have first-class offices insuburban Philadelphia, our production sites are remote and rugged. Adding to thechallenge, Preferred’s rapid growth demands close collaboration and precise execution.We just weren’t getting that in some of our new hires, and the failure rate wasunacceptable.Early in 2010, I learned about new technology that claimed to predict how people ‘team’together. I had my doubts, but I asked our HR team to take a look. The first time weused The Gabriel Institute’s Role-Based Assessment, it was to see what it would sayabout an existing operations team. The results were not only revealing and accurate,they were actionable. We solved the problem. Then we started using ‘RBA’ for hiring.Again, the results were outstanding.Before RBA, we were judging people by the usual ‘talent’ measures: intelligence,experience, education, personality and so on. With RBA, we were able to add the qualityof their ‘teaming’ characteristics into the mix. Going on two years, we have made anunbroken string of high quality hires, and our turnover rate is nil.Q. What was the state of affairs at Preferred prior to implementation of thisprogram, and how did your program seek to improve the situation?A. Prior to the deployment of TGI Role-Based Assessment, Preferred Sands wasengaged in the acquisition, operation, and modernization of mining assets. The firmwas growing rapidly, and coincidentally, was also consolidating its headquarters in anew location. A high percentage of ‘failed hires,’ and costly strategic and operationalissues associated with the turnover, made these challenges all the more difficult. Thegoal was clear: significantly improve quality of hire, fast. (continued overleaf) ©2011 Constellation Research Group – Used by permission.
  2. 2. Q. TGI’s RBA is disruptive to standard hiring practices—how did you get buy-infrom HR for implementation?A. We trust in the competence of our HR department. They were acutely aware of theproblem. We found an interesting technology that seemed — at least on the surface —to be a potential solution. HR tried it and agreed. Then we put it to a real test, and thebusiness value was clear. When you’ve got something that works, it doesn’t matter if it’snew, or disruptive. We needed that kind of disruption.Q. Can you share some stats—how has TGI RBA impacted your business?A. In the drive to grow and cope with rapid change, Preferred needed people who get onboard quickly, blend well, and produce at a high level. Instead, we were experiencingturnover in the neighborhood of 30%. From the time we began using RBA, that numberbegan to fall and is now, effectively, zero. The time and cost associated with the hiringprocess is also reduced. Now, before we invest in face-to-face meetings, we screen forthe kind of team-players who are the right fit for the job, for a specific team’s mission,and for our culture.Q. What are key lessons you learned during the implementation process?A. Everybody agrees that getting the right people in the right seats is good for business,and that this is a difficult goal to achieve. We learned that when you can identify how aperson will ‘team’ with others, that – at least for Preferred – you have the missing pieceof the ‘right people/right seats’ equation.Q. Can you share one example of the project’s success.A. Our reduction in turnover is a pretty good example of net results, but we also solvedother problems along the way. After one of our acquisitions, we evaluated the staff anddecided to bring in a general manager. The new hire seemed great at first, but thenproblems began to appear. This particular situation coincided with our discovery ofRole-Based Assessment, and became our first ‘field trial.’ The entire staff at that sitetook the assessment, and the RBA reports virtually mirrored the actual behavior issues.This taught us the first lesson about the importance of matching a person’s (RBA-measured) ‘Role’ and ‘Teaming Characteristics’ to a specific situation. We then usedRBA to find the ‘right fit’ at the GM level, and to make other adjustments. The problemswent away.Q. What advice would you give to others seeking to start a project similar to whatyou created?A. At one point during the height of our frustration, I questioned a number of otherCEO’s, and every one I talked to was troubled by the inability to consistently hire qualitypeople. So here’s what I recommend: whether you have hiring quality problems, or teamperformance problems, or any other people-related issues or challenges, stop paying somuch attention to ‘talent,’ and focus on finding the right team-players. ©2011 Constellation Research Group – Used by permission.